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My go-to stovetop fish recipe is usually pan seared salmon, but I recently tried this pan fried cod recipe from my friend Natasha’s cookbook, Natasha’s Kitchen, and I love how simple and tasty it is for a healthy dinner. (No surprise, her recipes are always amazing!) The fillets are perfectly flaky and tender. And the sauce? The mix of butter, white wine, and cherry tomatoes is full of flavor, slightly sweet, and makes the perfect topping for the fish. This pan seared cod is one of the best ways to cook cod in a pan.
Why You’ll Love This Pan Fried Cod
- Tender, flaky fish with buttery, tangy sauce and sweet tomato topping
- Simple ingredients
- Ready in 10 minutes
- Faster than baked cod
- Healthy and naturally gluten-free
- One pan main dish, with no bowl to wash
- Perfect for quick, healthy family meals
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for pan seared cod, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Cod Fillets – You can buy either frozen or fresh cod fillets, about 1-inch thick for even cooking. Thaw them first if they are frozen. Both regular cod fillets and higher quality cod loin work well. If you choose cod loin, consider thicker cuts, so they won’t dry out. This recipe would also work with other white fish, like flounder, grouper, pollock, or haddock.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Olive Oil – For pan searing. You can use avocado oil instead.
- Butter – This pan seared cod recipe uses unsalted butter, since we’re already adding salt to the pan fried cod fillet and the sauce. If you only have salted butter, reduce the amount of salt in the sauce.
- Dry White Wine – You can substitute it with an equal amount of chicken broth. You can add a splash of white wine vinegar or lemon juice towards the end, too.
- Cherry Tomatoes – Grape tomatoes or larger fresh diced tomatoes can work instead. You could even use leftover roasted cherry tomatoes.
- Garlic – I prefer fresh garlic, but 1 teaspoon of jarred minced garlic would also work. If you don’t have either, you can simply season the fish with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Fresh Basil – For garnish. You can try substituting with parsley, cilantro, or even mint.
How To Cook Cod In A Pan
This section shows how to cook pan fried cod, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Prep and season. Use paper towels to pat the fish dry. Season the cod fillets all over with sea salt and black pepper.
- Sear. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high until it shimmers. Add the cod fish, top side down, and sauté undisturbed until golden brown. Flip, lower heat to medium, and pan sear until the other side is opaque and the center reaches 145 degrees F in the thickest part. Transfer the pan fried cod to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
TIP: Use a fish spatula if you can.
This makes it easier to flip without tearing the pan fried cod. This is my favorite fish spatula.
- Make the sauce. In the same skillet, mix the butter, wine, tomatoes, and garlic. Simmer until the liquid reduces by half and tomatoes soften and burst. Season the sauce with the salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Combine. Add the pan fried cod back to the skillet and spoon the tomatoes and sauce over the top. Garnish with basil and serve.
How Long To Cook Cod In A Pan?
Pan fry cod for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping once, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
- Store: Keep the leftover pan fried cod fillets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: For best results, reheat leftover cod in a 350 degree F oven or in a hot skillet. Microwaving can dry it out, but it’s an option if needed.
- Freeze: Cool the fish, then freeze in a zip lock bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.
What To Serve With Pan Fried Cod
Pan fried cod recipes make delicious fish tacos, but this version with tomatoes is more suited as a main dish on its own. Try it with simple sides like:
- Veggies – Before searing cod, start some asparagus in the oven, tender roasted broccoli (or broccolini), or crispy smashed brussels sprouts.
- Grains and Starches – Creamy mashed potatoes, Instant Pot baked potatoes, fluffy rice, or quinoa make a hearty base for this dish.
- Salads – A fresh arugula salad or a simple wedge salad can add a crisp, light touch to balance the meal.
More Pan Seared Fish Recipes
If you love how flaky and flavorful this white fish turned out, try some of these other quick and easy fish recipes:
Pan Fried Cod
Pan Fried Cod (10 Minutes!)
Enjoy flaky pan fried cod, seared to perfection and simmered in a vibrant cherry tomato, garlic, and white wine sauce. Ready in 10 minutes!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
- Use paper towels to the fish pat dry. Season the cod fillets all over with 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the fish, top side down, and sauté, undisturbed, for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and seared on the first side.
Flip the fish, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes, until the fish is seared on the second side. (Add more oil as needed if the skillet looks dry.) The fish should be just cooked through and opaque in the center, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the fish should register 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). (Cook time will depend on the thickness of your fillets.)
- Transfer the pan seared cod to a plate in a single layer and tent loosely with foil to keep warm.
In the same skillet over medium-high heat, combine the butter, wine, tomatoes, and garlic. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half and the tomatoes start to soften and burst.
- Season the sauce with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, or to taste. Remove the pan from heat.
- Add the fish back to the pan, and spoon the tomatoes and sauce over the top. Garnish with the basil and serve.
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Serving size: 1 seared cod fillet and with sauce and tomatoes
Recipe from the Natasha’s Kitchen cookbook.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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